LOS ANGELES -- Production will start in late November on a remake of "Fame," the 1980 film about students at a performing arts high school in New York that spawned television and stage shows and musical hits, it was announced Monday.
As in the original film, the cast is comprised of young, up-and-coming performers who enroll in the High School for the Performing Arts to explore a variety of classic and contemporary artistic disciplines, including singing, acting, ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, hip-hop, slam poetry, spoken word, traditional theater and cinema.
"We have assembled a gifted group of actors, dancers and musicians who are just starting out and have a true affinity for the characters they're playing," said Tom Rosenberg, head of Lakeshore Entertainment, which is partnering on the remake with MGM.
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"They are going through the same competition and artistic process in real-life as they strive to make a name for themselves," he said. "The original 'Fame' premise is still vitally compelling."
Mary Parent chairs MGM's Worldwide Motion Picture Group.
"In many ways, the idea of pursuing a career in dance or music or acting is much more palpable now -- anyone with a page on a social networking site is instantly 'famous,' and anyone with a digital camera is a potential filmmaker," she said.
"The negotiation between fame and real talent is much more immediate and something with which audiences are familiar, and there's a universal relatability to experiencing the trials and tribulations associated with pursuing one's dream, regardless of the arena," she said. "We felt the timing was perfect to take this compelling story and update the music and dancing to make it more relevant to today's young adult audience."
The project will mark the feature film directorial debut of choreographer Kevin Tancharoen, who, while still a teen, began helming videos for Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Tyrese and Britney Spears.
Tancharoen also developed, directed and co-wrote MTV's series "DanceLife," which was executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, and directed a second MTV series, "TwentyFourSeven."
His cast includes Thomas Dekker ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"); Kristy Flores; Paul Iacono ("The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie"); Paul McGill; Naturi Naughton ("Notorious," former 3LW singer); Kay Panabaker ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"); Kherington Payne ("So You Think You Can Dance"); Collins Pennie; Walter Perez ("Friday Night Lights"); and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle ("Hannah Montana," "Camp Rock").
"Fame's" theatrical release is scheduled for Sept. 25, 2009. MGM will distribute the film in North America, while Lakeshore will handle international distribution.